The Rockridge Brothers return!
Although I am a fairly young English chap, I have consistently held soul, original R’n’B, and folk music close to my heart. When I was smaller my Dad would play loads of records ranging from John Lee Hooker, Louis Armstrong, Howlin’ Wolf to Led Zeppelin, and The Police. I was brought up to always appreciate the roots of modern music. A good Scandinavian friend of mine visited me and told me that one thing I should put on my priority list of things-to-do was to check out a band called
The Rockridge Brothers, a bluegrass band from Sweden. Now I have never really appreciated country music until I listened to the brilliant soundtrack that accompanied the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and when it came upon hearing their debut album title ‘Straight Outta Rockridge’ (2004), I knew these guys had to be different.
The story of The Rockridge Brothers began in an old revamped bomb shelter in a part of Stockholm known as Hägerstenåsen (The Heron Rockridge) in the early 2000s. The shelter served as a practice studio for the young punk rock scene of Stockholm. It is here guitarist Peter Frövik and bass player Pontus Juth came to the same conclusion: playing punk rock music was just becoming too mainstream, too conformist, and in order to really be rebellious, country music is the way to go!
Fiddler Ralf Fredblad, who also plays bluegrass banjo, joined the band and the trio started their career recording a soundtrack for a 10 minute animated movie, “Ruth’s Revenge”. The trio soon added a fourth member, banjo-player Kristian Herner and with his percussive, claw-hammer style, the band finally had the raw and dirty sound it is known for today.
By 2006, the brothers had established themselves firmly on the Swedish Americana scene, and decided to seek out the roots of the music in the US. The ‘Going Across the Sea’ tour of 2006 sent them across the heartland of oldtime and bluegrass music, from the smallest venues to the biggest festivals in the US. This trip laid the foundation for their next album, ‘Rockridge Hollerin’ (2008), which was followed by another US tour. I have been able to catch them live and their captivating stage performance and honest, straightforward, hard driving, crowd-pleasing music is really something. Since their formation in 2002, they have toured and gigged extensively all over Europe and North America.
Being a fan of The Rockridge Brothers for a couple of years now I was completely ecstatic to receive a pre-release copy of their third album ‘No Sleep ‘Til Rockridge’, another humorous take on an infamous album, is to be released on February 21st. I have had this album on constant rotation and I feel this is going to be a big hit with people. It has a certain quality that I haven’t heard in a while. To put it simply it has put a huge smile on my face! So I urge you to check them out and see why I am making such a fuss!